Kickin' It Old Skool

2007, Movie, PG-13, 107 mins


The "goodwill and nostalgia" that helps propel coma survivor Justin Schumacher (Jamie Kennedy) and his ragtag crew of overaged break-dancers to the top of a televised dance competition is unfortunately not enough to float the rest of this movie, a juvenile comedy that looks back to the '80s for inspiration but finds precious few laughs.

Los Angeles, California, 1986: In an effort to impress Jen (Alexia Fast) and beat out his obnoxious romantic rival, Kip (Taylor Beaumont), 12-year-old Justin Schumacher (Alexander Calvert) break-dances his way off the stage during Funky Fresh Kidz' big moment at the Vista Avenue Elementary School's talent show and lands smack on his head. Twenty years later, Justin is still in a coma, his parents (Debra Jo Rupp, Christopher McDonald) have run out of money, and the hospital is no longer willing to provide any more unpaid life support. But just as the plug is about to be pulled, the electro sounds of Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" coming from a custodian's radio wend their way into Justin's brain and rouse him out of unconsciousness. His parents are thrilled, but Justin has quite a few challenges in front of him. Not only is he now a 32-year-old man-child with the mind and maturity of a 12-year-old, but like a Rip Van Winkle from the Reagan era, Justin's heart and soul are still rooted in the '80s: His points of reference remain Betamax, THE KARATE KID, Knight Rider, Atari and parachute pants (for some reason, his abominable '80s wardrobe still fits). And thanks to two decades of medical care, his parents are about to lose their house. Feeling guilty but not sure what he can do to help, Justin decides to enter TV's "Get 2 Steppin'" contest, an American Idol-style dance competition hosted by none other than Kip (Smallville's Michael Rosenbaum), now a grown-up jerk engaged to the show's dance consultant — Jen (Maria Menounos). The prize is $100,000 and a one-year contract on Kip's network, D-Zone Videos. But to win it Justin first will have to reunite the rest of the Funky Fresh Kidz, all of whom have moved well past their b-boy glory days of breakin' and poppin'. Mexican-American Hector (Aris Alvarado) is now an obese traffic warden; Asian-American Aki (Mad TV's Bobby Lee) is a cubical drone who admits he always hated serving as the crew's "Long Duck Dong" mascot; and African-American Darnell (Miguel A. Nunez Jr.) is a failed inventor with a nagging wife (Vivica A. Fox) whom he claims gets pregnant every time she watches a rap video.

Needless to say, the crew gets back together and in some semblance of shape in time for the contest. And while they all learn something from Justin about holding onto what you once believed in, the reformed Funky Fresh Kidz teach Justin how be a grown-up (sort of) and win the girl of his dreams. The dancing is pretty good and kids might find some of the physcial humor funny, but parents might want to think twice: Some of the humor is pretty raunchy (there are quite a few sex-related scenes and jokes) and tasteless (a homeless man's urine figures big). Adults old enough to appreciate the choice electro-boogaloo soundtrack and get the "Mr. Roboto" jokes will doubtless find the rest of it painfully dumb. leave a comment --Ken Fox

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